on the hill

Lawmakers push for funding for U.S.-Israel collaborative defense, technology projects

The bill would provide $250 million over five years for joint projects

Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) speaks about his experiences during a trip to Israel and Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of a bipartisan delegation from the House of Representatives on January 28, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is pushing for the creation of a new fund to support cooperative projects between the U.S. and Israel to address emerging defense and technological challenges, coming as part of an emerging push for stepping up collaborative efforts to counter new security threats.

The “United States-Israel Future of Warfare Act of 2023,” announced on Friday, would create a “United States-Israel Future of Warfare Research and Development Fund,” funded at $50 million annually in each of the next five years, to address challenges including artificial intelligence, automation, cybersecurity and directed energy. The bill follows a letter earlier this month from nearly 50 members of the Armed Services Committee calling for increased defensive cooperation in many of the same areas.

The bill highlights past successes in U.S.-Israel cooperation, including counter-tunneling technology and counter-drone technology, both of which have contributed to U.S. security efforts at home and abroad, as well as other areas of collaboration including drone warfare and defense software.

The bill is sponsored by Reps. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Jared Golden (D-ME), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Jason Crow (D-CO), Mike Turner (R-OH) and Pat Ryan (D-NY). Lamborn and Crow led the recent letter.

“The United States and Israel face a number of common, evolving threats. It is critical that we work together strategically to develop joint defense technologies to ensure we are on the cutting edge of research and development, and a step ahead of our adversaries,” Wilson said in a statement — a sentiment echoed by his cosponsors.

Golden emphasized that the fund would “help both our nations to benefit from one another’s knowledge and experience to counter current and future threats in a rapidly changing strategic environment.” 

Crow and Ryan both said that they had seen firsthand during their military service the advantages of strong defense relationships with U.S. allies, including Israel.

In 2021, Wilson was key to efforts to authorize the U.S.-Israel Operations Technology Working Group, another collaborative project that focuses on many of the same areas.

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